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Minnesota Vikings Betting Predictions – Vikings Rebuilding Heading In To 2012 Season

Posted by Tony Bryant on 7/4/2012 3:25:54 PM

In a division that featured the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears, sports betting fans in Minneapolis knew that their Minnesota Vikings would have a tough time competing for a playoff spot in 2011. However, not even the hometown fans could have predicted the Vikings would perform as awful as they did in 2011, losing their first four games en route to a 3-13 season, tying the record for the worst mark in franchise history. New general manager Rick Spielman opted to commit to youth and build through the draft rather than sign any big name free agents this past offseason, hinting that this year will be about rebuilding in Minnesota.

Head Coach: Leslie Frazier
Offensive Coordinator: Bill Musgrave
Defensive Coordinator: Alan Williams
Owner: Zygi Wilf
Stadium: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Capacity: 64, 121
Super Bowl Wins: 0

Offense

With no veteran quarterback signed to compete with Christian Ponder, the starting job is there for the 24-year old to run with in his sophomore season, and he will be expected to improve. Ponder’s rookie season was a tough one, as he dealt with the demands of becoming a professional quarterback while trying to learn a new offense in a lockout-shortened offseason. This year will be different for Ponder, who now has the experience of a full year and a complete offseason to take his game to the next level. While the Vikings didn’t land many major free agent signings, there biggest move was bringing in tight end John Carlson, the hometown talent that is expected to help Ponder in his development as a pass-catching stud capable of stretching the field and providing a safety blanket. Minnesota also signed wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who will compete for starting time with Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin, should the latter remain with the team. Backup running back Toby Gerhart will be relied on in the early going as Adrian Peterson rounds in to form after suffering a torn ACL in week 16 last season. Peterson is expected to be at full strength this preseason, but with nothing on the line the Vikings won’t want to rush him. First round pick Matt Kalil is a stud, and will be asked to protect Ponder’s blind side from day one, but the rest of the line is still in flux.

Grade: C -

Defense

One of the most disappointing aspects of the Vikings’ 2011 season was the defense’s inability to stop the pass, as they allowed more touchdown receptions than any other team in the NFL. Part of that was injuries to starters Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook, who will both be back this sportsbook season, but they weren’t the only problem. Aside from Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen and tackle Kevin Williams, Minnesota’s front-seven struggled to generate pressure up front and that led to them getting exposed in the secondary. Part of it is that the Vikings’ linebackers are so young, but the bigger problem was a lack of depth, particularly on the defensive line where Brian Robison really wore down as the season wore on and didn’t have a strong enough replacement. Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, and Erin Henderson will all start in 2012, but there is zero NFL starting experience among the backups at all three spots. First round pick Harrison Smith will likely start at one of the safety positions, with a position battle for whom will get the nod to start beside him.

Grade: C +

Special Teams

The Vikings said farewell to longtime kicker Ryan Longwell in the offseason, replacing him with a younger, dependable starter in sixth-round pick Blair Walsh, who the franchise hopes can also have a long and successful career with the team. Punter Chris Kluwe is back for one more season, and while his leg isn’t as strong as it used to be, he is still solid and dependable. One of the major questions heading in to training camp will be who handles the bulk of the return duties with the coaching staff looking to keep Harvin off special teams in an effort to protect him from injury. Free agent Devin Aromashodu and rookie wide receiver Jarius Wright are the top return candidates heading in to camp.

Grade: C +

Prediction

Spielman is fully committed to his rebuild and doing things the right way to develop a legitimate future contender in Minnesota, so expectations for the coming season should be tempered. The team has its franchise players in Peterson, Ponder, and Kalil, and their development together will be key. Progress will be the measuring stick for which this season is judged a success or not, and while the Vikings may not put up many victories, they should be a better team than they were an online sports bet year ago.

Projected Record: (4-12; Fourth in NFC North)

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – vs. Jacksonville (1:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 3 – vs. San Francisco (1:00 PM ET)
Week 4 – at Detroit (1:00 PM ET)
Week 5 – vs. Tennessee (1:00 PM ET)
Week 6 – at Washington (4:25 PM ET)
Week 7 – vs. Arizona (1:00 PM ET)
Week 8 – vs. Tampa Bay (Thursday, 8:25 PM ET)
Week 9 – at Seattle (4:05 PM ET)
Week 10 – vs. Detroit (1:00 PM ET)
Week 11 – BYE WEEK
Week 12 – at Chicago (1:00 PM ET)
Week 13 – at Green Bay (1:00 PM ET)
Week 14 – vs. Chicago (1:00 PM ET)
Week 15 – at St. Louis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 16 – at Houston (1:00 PM ET)
Week 17 – vs. Green Bay (1:00 PM ET)


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